Looking back on the slide rule from this post, I also remembered that I did use a computer in high school. In Grade 9. Our school had an agreement with the Illinois Institute of Technology for timesharing services. I learned my first computer language that year. IITRAN. The only access to the Illinois timesharing computer was through a single Bell teletype machine in one of the classrooms, a TWX-35. Also known as an ASR 35 Teletype. Similar to the one pictured below although we had a built-in rotary dial telephone on the right side.

I created software programs on long lengths of yellow paper tape with punched holes. After login, I would bring up the compiler, stream the paper tape, and wait for the output to be printed on the teletype. And, whenever I could grab time on the TWX-35, I would play a game. The very first computer game I ever played.  A moon landing simulation. Captured and presented on a typewriter style printhead no less.

Ah, yes. Those were the days.

2 replies
  1. Greg Greaves
    Greg Greaves says:

    In the early 80’s, I had a Heathkit H8 given to me by my Dad’s friend who built it from scratch. It had 2 5 1/4″ disk drives which took single sided hard sectored disks (80KB each and $50 for 10 of ’em at Radio Shack-last box), a CPU unit and terminal (300 baud). To boot the operating system (HDOS, but CP/M was also available), you keyed in a little machine language program on the front panel (in octal of course) to bootstrap the ROM on the disk drive and boot HDOS from the diskette. If you did everything right, 3 or 4 minutes later, you’d be up and able to run BASIC. I remember writing a small Point of Sale system for this beast. Then we started using TRS-80’s in school (trash 80s) and I lost interest in the quirky H8. I still have a soft spot for it, though. Here’s some info on the computer…


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